Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fox News: 10 Years at Number 1

I was surprised to see today that Fox has been beating CNN like a red-headed step child for that long.

Where’s the NCAA?  There must be some recruiting violations in there somewhere to have and hold that kind of dominance.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Most Important Piece of Legislation – EVER

Sure, the Code of Hammurabi, the Ten Commandments, the Magna Carta and the Constitution are kind of important, but they pale in comparison to the magnitude, and sheer beauty, of House Joint Resolution 104.
HJ 104, patroned by Del. Randy Minchew (R-Loudoun), would commission a feasibility study for the construction of a museum to honor great Americans.   You’ll recall that  I suggested just such a study in a previous post, Time for Virginia to Save the Real Hall of Fame.  And while my characterization of the importance of the resolution may be a bit colored, Del. Minchew should be commended  for answering the call.  Thank you, Randy!

To say it again, America desperately needs a hall that honors its greatest achievers.  America has no single place that honors our Founding Fathers, our great inventors, businessmen, statesmen, philosophers, poets, humanitarians, explorers and all the other patriots that have proven that freedom does indeed bestow wonderful blessings.  We  need a hall that is deep in content but still interactive and entertaining.  A hall that captures the past but uses 21st century technology to make that history come alive. A hall that recognizes not fame but true greatness.  Most of all, we need a hall that inspires future generations of Americans to be great.
Although modest in the world of legislative priorities, this study nonetheless lights the flame by which Virginia will again show her leadership in  celebrating and preserving the accomplishments of the American spirit.

The resolution is coming for hearing in the Studies subcommittee of the House Rules committee this week.  If you believe it the project, please voice your support by contacting these members of the subcommittee:

Chairman R. Steven Landes, DelSLandes@house.virginia.gov
Del. Delegate R. Lee Ware, Jr.,  DelLWare@house.virginia.gov
Del. Robert D. Orrock, Sr.,  DelBOrrock@house.virginia.gov
Del. Barry D. Knight, DelBKnight@house.virginia.gov
Del. Johnny S. Joannou, (804) 698-1079 (no email)
Del. Kenneth C. Alexander, DelKAlexander@house.virginia.gov

Monday, January 23, 2012

Return of Plastic Fetus Guy!

It sure didn't take long.

Yes, at his very first opportunity, newly minted state senator Dick Black resumed his place as the General Assembly's chief social wingnut.  Once again under the insulting guise of protecting the mother's health, Black has offered legislation clearly designed to further intimated and punish women seeking abortions.  His latest bill,  SB 279, would force a doctor at the time the abortion procedure was scheduled  to perform an ultrasound "to more accurately determine gestation age and further protect the health of the mother" and, further, force the doctor to offer the mother to view the ultrasound.  Yeah, like the mother's health is bettered by showing her the ultrasound of the fetus she came to abort.  What a complete ass.

And for all those Dick Black apologists who, during the campaign, argued  Black's plastic fetus fetish was a thing of the past, I ask simply, "Where are you now?"

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Advice to Mitt Romney: Stay Soft

Guest Post by Angelo Dundee*

Everyone knows that controversy sells papers and air time.  And you can’t blame the media.  Ultimately, it’s the public’s unquenchable blood thirst for zingers, flubs and controversial sound bites that fuels the 24/7 news cycle.   So what happens when a presidential candidate refuses to play?  Well, he’s chastised for being “soft.”

Romney needs to ignore that criticism and keep his eye on the prize.  At the end of the day, Romney, or whoever the Republican nominee is, must sway not the extreme elements of the Republican base to win the presidency but, rather, those moderate Americans who voted for Barack Obama.   Romney certainly isn’t going to appeal to that middle if he gets dragged into a gutter fight with his Republican opponents or, for that matter, going too far in establishing his conservative bona fides. Basically, he needs to show himself just conservative enough to win the nomination.  And, just as importantly, he needs to show himself to be “presidential.”

For the most part, he’s done just that, avoiding the temptation of revenge by sound bite.   And, so far, it has paid off despite one bad round in South Carolina.  Like a boxing match, Romney needs to fight his fight.  It may have all the excitement of Ali’s rope-a-dope now, but, like Ali’s, it will prove the winning strategy in the end.

*Not really

Friday, January 20, 2012

Meaningful Government Reform? Color Me Skeptical

Leesburg Today has coverage of today’s first meeting of the Loudoun Government Reform Commission, charged with, among other things, “seek[ing] out means to more effectively and efficiently perform core county government functions and concentrate on core mission-oriented service.”

Good luck with that. Not to be too much of a downer, but it sounds a lot like the congressional  Super Committee, and we know how well that worked out.

I hope someone can prove me wrong, but my prediction is this.  The committee will come up with some great recommendations (some pie-in-the-sky and others not) the BOS will consider them, and then, for whatever reason, promptly reject them all but one – something like buying smaller sized Post-Its at an annual savings of $347.11.

Please, please bring me at least one adopted, material change that, at a minimum, offsets the thousands of dollars spent on administering this 13 member commission.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Scalia Rocks!

When I heard that Justice Antonin Scalia was coming to Tysons, I knew I had to be there.   You see, I’ve been a big fan of his for more than 20 years and have written about him many times, but I had never seen him live.  So, I got a ticket as soon as they went on sale, and got to the venue early so I’d be among the first in line.  When the doors opened, I ran to the front and got a seat right next to the stage.

He didn’t disappoint.

He opened with his biggest hit, “Originalism,” and played it over and over, which was just fine for this audience.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, originalists view the Constitution as a text with fixed definition and scope.  Originalists apply the Constitution to changing times by extrapolating the Founders’ original intent and applying it to current events.  In other words, the Constitution is what it is, and it is what it always has been.  The originalism tune Scalia played today covered everything from the death penalty to abortion to sodomy on the right, to criminal rights on the left.  He also sang his familiar refrain that, if you can get enough people together, you can pass a law and create rights not otherwise recognized in the Constitution.  Pretty simple way for Americans to address changing times and mores.

While he was also very, very funny, he didn’t pull any punches when discussing his liberal brethren or in chastising them for their judicial activism.  Such activism, he said, does a disservice to the very point of any constitution, which is to provide stability and predictability.  Indeed, construing the Constitution as a “living” document, pretty much means that the Constitution says whatever you want it to say on any particular day.  His candor in rebuking his colleagues in that regard was, to me, the most surprising part of an awesome show.

The only disappointing thing about his performance was that he didn’t play Freebird.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Victory is Mine!

For years, I”ve been screaming about the idiotic Republican loyalty oath (see here, here and here as a few examples).  FINALLY the state Republican party  is getting the message.

Due not to anything I wrote, but, instead, due to adverse national attention arising from the  presidential primary process, the RPV voted to do away with the loyalty oath as a condition of voting in the Republican primary.  Hallelujah!

Not to be too hyperbolic about it, but the implications of the vote for democracy in Virginia is akin to the effect the opening of the Hungarian borders in 1989 had on communism in eastern Europe.   Recall that once the door to freedom was opened, the entire system collapsed.  It’s the same thing here with the rule of the local party hacks. 

Here’s why.  With no loyalty oath, the paranoid among us have no option but to seek party registration in order to keep those fiendish Democrats from selecting the Republican nominee (as if that EVER happened).  Sen. Mark Obenshain already has offered a bill in in that regard, and given his run for AG, my guess is that such a bill will pass this time.   Party registration, then, eliminates the hyperpartisans”  justification for the insular, undemocratic conventions that they’ve controlled, which, in turn, have yielded hyperpartisan candidates.  And, since loyalty oaths were also required in firehouse primaries, the only remaining method of selection of the parties’ nominees is a state-run primary.  So, in the end, we not only get a more democratic process  but we get candidates who are more electable in a general election  because they must appeal to a broader  base to get the nomination in the first place.

Indeed, the shift to party registration, then inevitably to state-run primaries, will fundamentally change Virginia politics. With state-run primaries, candidates from both parties will be forced more to the middle of their respective parties in order to win the nomination. Thus, the eventual winner likely will be more moderate than in the case today where the nominees often are selected by the party extremists.

Great day for democracy in Virginia; bad day for partisan hacks.

UPDATE 8/18 1:20 pm: RPV Chairman Pat Mullins testifies before the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee in support of party registration!  Yes, folks, like I said in the original post, the end of the oath has kicked off a chain of events that ultimately will spell the end of extremist control of the VA Republican party.  It’s like the fall of the Berlin Wall, baby!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Final Report Card on the 2007-2011 BOS

The final report card for the 2007-2011 Loudoun County Board of Supervisors came in yesterday’s mail.  There’s just one grade on it:  F.  Make that F-.

The “report card” is my tax bill, which shows a $1.285 rate.  Now, while we all know the “rate” is not the best measure of real estate tax burden, our rate has nonetheless increased 40% over the $0.917 rate in 2007.   From the inherited $0.917 rate in 2007, it went to $1.14 in 2008, to $124.5 in 2009 then to $1.30 in 2010.
The actual tax on my house, moreover, has had a trajectory that would make NASA envious.  It increased 35% over that same time.  35%!! That includes one year, 2008, when it increased 28%.  Epic, epic failure of the BOS to control spending and/or diversify the tax base.

Thankfully, unlike elementary school, this board won’t be repeating the grade.
And let that be a “lesson” for the new board.

What Was Haley Barbour Thinking?

I simply am shocked by outgoing Mississippi governor Haley Barbour’s decision to set free a whole slate of convicted murderers and rapists.   Even if he’s correct in his assumption that they are no threat to society, what about honoring the judicial system and the punishment it meted out?   Indeed, in drawing on the teachings of forgiveness in his personal faith as ground for the pardons,  Barbour commits a secular mortal sin – putting personal religious beliefs above the rule of law.

A very unfortunate end to an otherwise stellar political career

Friday, January 13, 2012

Whitbeck to Seek 10th House District Chair

It comes as no surprise that John Whitbeck didn’t let the electronic dust settle on his campaign website.  He clearly had been looking for something to run for since he lost to Randy Minchew in the 10th HOD district primary.  Most had speculated a run for LCRC chair.

That not looking like such a good idea with Mark Sell firmly entrenched, he managed to find another 10th district seat to run for:  the 10th congressional district chairmanship, which Howie Lind is vacating.  According to Whitbeck (also known as Whitblack in some circles for his close association to Dick Black), he has Lind’s endorsement.  His full announcement is here

Equality Loudoun Goes Off the Rails – Again

As if they were ever “on” the rails to begin with.

In their latest installment, Equality Loudoun takes issue with the Loudoun County School Board’s vote on its anti-discrimination policy, the comments calling the board members “bigots.”  But what really sickens me is how they’re now posting that garbage on PTA Facebook pages.  Votes are fair game, but calling school board members bigots when simply following the Attorney General’s legal opinion and doing so on a PTA site is deplorable.

Leave the PTA chatter to bake sales and snow days, and leave the politics out of it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

And They're Off!

The General Assembly is getting into full swing, including House committee assignments (Senate is still working things out given the 20-20 split). Here are a few highlights with the full list here:

Minchew:  Scored two huge appointments for a freshman:   Transportation and Courts of Justice.

Comstock:  Also appointed to the Transportation committee (good to see we have some strong NoVA legislators there) as well as Commerce & Labor and Science & Technology (great appointments considering her business experience)

Greason:  In only his second term, Tag was appointed to the very exclusive Appropriations committee as well as the Education and General Laws committees.  Great platform for him.

May:  As a senior statesman, he was appointed chairman of the Transportation committee, which especially when combined with additional NoVA delegates Comstock, Minchew and Rust,  is great news for northern Virginia.

Rust:  Four committee appointments including Transportation, Education, Commerce & Labor and Science & Technology.

Ramadan:   Appointed to Science & Technology and Privileges & Elections (how about some party registration, David?)

All in all, Loudoun and NoVA certainly seem to have the best representation it could hope for when it comes to solving our traffic woes.

Good luck with that.